Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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A Wee Bit of Christmas Embroidery Accomplished


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Beats me how the weekend can possibly go by so fast! But I did manage some embroidery this weekend, and I learned a little bit in the process. So … here goes….

Here’s the extent of my hand embroidery endeavors this weekend. I know it’s not that impressive! But still….

Hand Embroidery Projects for Christmas, 2008

I managed the embroidered elements of two cards, plus the beginnings of a third, and I put in the rest of the berries and one pine cone on that blasted towel!

Cards first….

Hand Embroidery Projects for Christmas, 2008

This card pattern comes from Erica Fortgens’ book, Merry Christmas Embroidery on Paper – that’s an Amazon link, if you want to read more about it. The design stitched up pretty quickly. In fact, it stitched up really quickly – the whole thing took less than an hour, including piercing the paper. I have some other ideas for this design. I think it would make a great snowflake, on blue, worked in white or pale silver, with tiny crystals attached. So I may try that later on. I’m going to cut this in a more interesting way, add a few little red crystals to it, put it on a printed background and affix it to a card, with a little ribbon at the top. Whatever… eventually, I’ll show you what I mean!

Hand Embroidery Projects for Christmas, 2008

This little heart-wreath-thingy took less than an hour as well, including piercing the paper. I used the wrong sized piercing tool for the thread. I should have used an extra-fine tip, but I used the medium one. Still, it’ll pass muster, I suppose, once incorporated on a card with other distracting stuff attached! I’ll add some little red crystals in the middle of the open red spaces.

Hand Embroidery Projects for Christmas, 2008

This one’s in progress. It’s a wreath, so there’ll be some greenery between the red balls. And of course, some little crystals in there, too. I like sparkly things on Christmas stuff! I can’t help it!!! This card is a little more complicated. I estimate it’ll take a little longer to stitch – so, all told, maybe an hour and a half.

Something I learned about embroidering on paper, or at least, about this type of embroidery on paper. It helps TREEEE MENDOUSLY to have the correct materials. All the Erica Fortgens books recommend Anchor Alpaca (edit: it’s Anchor Alcazar – sorry!) for the most part, which is a machine embroidery thread. Since I didn’t have any, in the past I’ve just used regular rayon embroidery floss. It works ok, in very short strands, and it gives a very pretty coverage. But it does get frustrating to work with! First of all, you have to work with short pieces; otherwise, the embroidery floss frays, and that’s a pain in the neck. Another thing is the nature of rayon embroidery floss – it’s cranky!

Well, finally I figured that it doesn’t actually have to be Anchor machine embroidery thread! Machine embroidery thread in general works great on these paper projects because it is supple, it stands up to abuse, it’s fine, and, depending on the type you get, it’s very pretty and shiny stuff, perfect for Christmas cards. You can also get it in metallics, which are much easier to use on paper than regular metallic embroidery floss. MUCH EASIER. I couldn’t believe the difference.

Anyway, I found I could stitch a lot faster with the right materials, once I took out a few spools of machine embroidery thread.

Sheeesh. I was a bit slow on that discovery, wasn’t I??

I’ll talk about the towel later – I’ll show you that pine cone up close. I really don’t want to talk about the towel right now. Aaargh!!

Finally, it’s December, so I will have my monthly stash give-away coming up this week. It’s a rather special give-away. Not quite the same type of loot as before, but … loot, nonetheless! Some people will be excited about it, but I realize there will be some who say… “?!?” It won’t interest every stitcher, I’m afraid…. !!! Yes, yes, enough enigmatic talk. Wait for it!

Hope your Monday is terrific!


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(12) Comments

  1. Lovely christmas embroidery mary – yes I wondered about pulling alpaca through paper! Sticky stuff to pull through heddles, even.

  2. I just love these cards…problem for me is I wouldn’t have the time to do one for everyone on my list and if I did one card for one friend, I would have to do one for all of them! Whew, I’m exhausted just from just typing this…he he
    Annie in Michigan

  3. What is the type of paper you are using for this and also the brand of thread? I didnt quite understand by metallic thread.

  4. Thanks, all, for the comments. The cards have been really fun to work!

    Princy – I’m using textured cardstock, sold for scrapbooking. For the thread, I’m using Sulky machine embroidery thread. They make several different kinds – I’m using their shiny rayon thread and their metallic machine embroidery thread. It works really well!


  5. Mary

    what do you recommend to use for when you need to place a drawing on fabric, so that you dont have to do it freehand?

    because i used pencil on my fabric and it looks bad because i often varyl slightly from what i drew on the fabric and i get get the pencil markings off the fabric afterwards…


  6. Hi, Jules –

    I use pencil often. If you transfer the design lightly with pencil, you shouldn’t have a problem washing it off when you’re finished!

    Another thing you can do is use Solvy or another water soluble stabilizer. Draw your design on the solvy with a fine tipped Sharpie, place the solvy over the fabric and hoop the fabric and solvy up together, with the solvy on top. Stitch through the solvy, then rinse until the solvy disappears. I’ve got a couple tutorials on that under the tips and tricks index:

    Here’s the link:

    tips and tricks for hand embroidery


  7. From what I have seen so far I love this stitching. I have done a lot of it in the past so new patterns are hopefully going to get done in time for this Christmas. Thank you:)

  8. Can you tell me where to get the pattern for the second item above? And, in the book for the first item, do you get a piercing pattern?

    1. The book that these patterns are in is listed on my Amazon Recommendations page here, in the first spot: https://www.amazon.com/shop/marycorbet It’s by Erica Fortgens – her piercing patterns are in the book (best to photocopy or scan the pattern rather than use it straight out of the book, otherwise, you’ll end up without the original pattern eventually). Her pattern books for card making are wonderful!

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